Category Archives: Environment and Climate

Why We’re Headed to the Philippines With World Vision USA

On November 8, the world will recognize the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, the superstorm that devastated much of the Philippines and claimed 6,300 lives. 1000 people are still reported missing.

It’s difficult to believe that it has already been a year since we were stunned by the horrific photos that raced across the wires of bloated bodies lining the streets, people sitting listless in the middle of rubble, and a huge ship in the middle of Tacloban City. While Haiyan is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines, the 7100 islands country experiences 19 typhoons every year.

Next Monday I will head to the Philippines along with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member Jeana Shandraw with our partner  World Vision USA to see their recovery work on the ground since Haiyan hit the islands last year. We will see devastated areas that are a part of a “no build’ zone, community savings groups that have helped families rebuild, child trafficking protection programs funded by USAID, health centers, and area development programs. On November 8 we will attend a one-year anniversary vigil.

World Vision distributes food and hygiene kits to families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Bantigui, Ormoc, on 26 November 2013
World Vision distributes food and hygiene kits to families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Bantigui, Ormoc, on 26 November 2013

If you follow my work you know I travel often to see NGOs work on the ground. This will be my first time traveling with and seeing World Vision’s work and am interested to report on its recovery efforts in the Philippines.  To date, World Vision has reached 760,000 people with a goal of reaching 1 million beneficiaries. World Vision has also provided 51,000 temporary shelter kits and is working with the government to ensure homes are built in safer areas among a long list of recovery services it provides.

Continue reading Why We’re Headed to the Philippines With World Vision USA

Our Work With Seventh Generation to #FightToxins

For the next month 100 of our members will become Toxin Freedom Fighters as they spread the word through blogs and social media about the need to update and reform the Toxic Chemicals Control Act of 1976. In 1976 60,000 chemicals were grandfathered in and since then 20,000 new chemicals have been added, but fewer than 10,000 of them have ever been tested.

Seventh Generation is calling upon concerned citizens to sign a petition that will be delivered to Congress on April 30, 2014 to show strength of will that lawmakers should re-evaluate the Toxic Chemicals Control Act for the first time since 1976. 100,000 signatures are needed on FightToxins.com to make a notable difference. Seventh Generation is calling upon Congress to require that chemicals should be tested, not arbitrarily put into our household products and foods and beverages. In order for a chemical to be tested it must be deemed  an “unreasonable risk” to public health or the environment before it can be regulated by law.

Throughout the month we will be sharing all of the posts on Pinterest as well as on our Social Good Moms Tumblr blog.

If you believe in reform of the Toxic Chemicals Control Act, sign the petition and make change.

Seventh Generation

10 Global Development Stories to be Thankful For

Typically when we think of global development we focus on everything that is wrong because the challenges are so great. Rarely are the successes celebrated because with every move towards a goal there is still so much to do.

Today we are featuring those stories that have been more about success than failure; more about moving forward than moving backward even if the net result only makes a small dent in the overall scheme of things.

    1. Female Genital Mutilation Banned Under New Somalian Constitution
    2. Path’s Sure Start Program Ensures the Reduction of Maternal Mortality
    3. Living, Thriving with HIV/AIDS: A Mother’s Story
    4. A Return to Normalcy: Mogadishu’s Lido Beach Lively Again
    5. Somalia’s Concerted Move Toward Gender Equality
    6. Men March Against Child Marriage in Liberia
    7. A Promising Trend for Data,Transparency
    8. New Fishing, Agricultural Development Project in Haiti
    9. Quick Impact Project Provides Education for Darfur Children
    10. Powering the Country With Wind Energy

What global development stories are you thankful for?

Photo: Jennifer James, Kenya

Powering the Country With Wind Energy

If you have ever headed north on I-65 in Indiana chances are you have seen the large wind farms along the highway. The Department of Energy, through its Windpowering America Initiative has set a goal of providing 5% of all electricity in the United States by 2020 through wind power.

It’s quite interesting how individual homeowners and towns are generating wind power for renewable electricity and to cut down on costs. Rural towns, in particular, are greatly benefiting from wind power by not only generating electricity, but also by providing jobs for those who need them through a growing green jobs industry.

Looking towards the next generation there are also robust programs to educate children about the power of wind energy by creating the Winds for Schools Project. This project allows rural schools to erect wind turbines to generate energy as well as use it as a teaching tool for students.

Visit the Windpowering America web site where you can find wind power initiatives in your state.

On the Net: www.windpoweringamerica.gov

Photos: Jennifer James

DoSomething.org’s The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing

WHAT: The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing  

WHERE: www.dosomething.org/hunt

THE CONVERSATION: #TheHuntisOn

DoSomething.org, the nation’s largest organization for teens and social change, has partnered with Lenovo, the world’s second largest PC maker who helped found the campaign last year, and Bing, the search engine from Microsoft, to launch “The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing.”

Every day at 11:11 AM EST Do Something releases the day’s current challenge via email, text, and on their web site. Today’s challenge is about disaster response and relief. Each challenge takes less than an hour to complete.

  1. Check all the smoke detectors in you and your teammates homes to make sure they are working properly.
  2. Identify the top risk in your community (tornado hurricane, forest fire) and create a disaster preparedness plan to post in your home.
  3. Create a disaster preparedness kit for your home including 3 of the following items: soap, bandages, tweezers, thermometer, gloves, scissors, safety pins, antiseptic

You can check in each day through this Friday for the latest challenges (3 per day) at www.dosomething.org/hunt/challenges

Follow these moms as they share how their family takes on these challenges for the rest of the week.

Chelsea: Someday I’ll Learn. Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @somdayilllearn

Marina: Energizer Bunnies’ Mommy Reports. Follow Marina on Twitter @ebmommy

Mandy: Read Write Mom. Follow Mandy on Twitter @thereadwritemom

Melinda: Look What Mom Found. Follow Melinda on Twitter @LkWhatMomFound

Brandy: Not So Average Mama. Follow Brandy on Twitter @StitchBlade

Bamboo Sunglasses for Good

The greatest consumer satisfaction these days is knowing that when you purchase a product you will affect change for someone in need. We have all heard of Toms and Warby Parker, but have you heard on Panda sunglasses?

Panda sunglasses are high-end, ethical, sustainable, and handcrafted bamboo sunglasses currently fashioned in 5 different styles that give you the chance to help someone in need with every purchase. Lightweight and eco-friendly, one of the biggest draws to Panda sunglasses is that they float. For water lovers, this is a great plus.

At $120 Panda sunglasses are a little pricey, but the beauty comes in knowing that by paying a bit more for luxury sunglasses you will give the gift of sight to someone in the developing world through their partnership with the TOMA Foundation. Through Panda Sunglasses’s partnership with the TOMA Foundation they will provide a medical eye exam and donate a pair of sunglasses or prescription glasses to someone in need. That’s well worth every penny.

With a growing global fan base and celebrity endorsements that are quickly piling up the Washington, DC-based start-up is poised to sell more sunglasses with a purpose and positioning themselves as a major player in the buy one, give one marketplace.

Want to learn more about Panda Sunglasses? Visit them at wearpanda.com or check out their Look Book

Greenpeace at the People’s Summit in Downtown Rio

Greenpeace, the largest independent direct-action environmental organization in the world, is having a huge presence at Rio + 20 both literally and figuratively. They brought their Rainbow Warrior ship to Rio and have been vocal about holding world officials to the environmental commitments they have already made and those that should be hashed out this week at the Earth Summit.

“Our aim is to get all banks to say we won’t make loans to oil, coal, gas and deforestation-related activity. We want to shut off the flow of capital. The time is right because the banks are at their most vulnerable in terms of public legitimacy.” – Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace (Guardian)

Greenpeace also set up a huge exhibit at Flamengo Park in downtown Rio where the People’s Summit is taking place through June 22 – concurrently with Rio + 20.

“The People’s Summit intends to unite urban, indigenous, religious, ecological and working movements from all over the planet to converge in a clear position,” said a member of the Summit’s organizing committee, Rafael Soares de Oliveira. “We believe that the solutions for the planet lie in the solutions of the people.”

Follow Greenpeace at @Greenpeace and Kumi Nadoo, Greenpeace’s Executive Director at

Future We Want and Rio + 20 at Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro

The Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro  is hosting exhibits in conjunction with Rio + 20, the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development. In this exhibit Brazilian notables – from artists to authors and models – and ordinary people come together to talk about the future they want. Museum-goers are also encouraged to share the future they want and post them on the walls of the exhibit.

Photos: Jennifer James

Rio + 20: How Rio is Upgrading Its Urban Slums

Even while staying in Copacabana instead of Barra where most of the Rio + 20 activities are happening this week there is still ample opportunity to learn new things about sustainable development.

I ran across this interesting exhibit made of milk crates in Copacabana an hour ago that drew attention to Rio’s Morar Carioca Programme.

What Morar Carioca has done since July 2010 is upgrade the urban slums in Rio. The program will last until 2020 fueled by an investment of 8 billion reais and will benefit 280,000 households.

Inside the exhibit I learned that  Rio de Janeiro considered climate change and opted for environmentally responsible solutions to address slum urbanization.  The exhibit laid out the plan in detail.

There will be resizing of the sewer and drain network. We all know how important sanitation is to global health. Additionally, new residential buildings will be made of sustainable materials.

Photos: Jennifer James

Headed to Brazil, Covering Rio + Social, Rio + 20 This Week

Tomorrow we will be headed to Rio to attend Rio + Social on Tuesday with 500 other influencers who use social media for social good. I am particularly excited about the lineup of speakers whose work I admire like Radha Muthiah, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP) among many others.

Over the course of the next few days we would love any retweets, shares, likes, pins, and +1s that you can share. Above anything else we will be amplifying the rights of women in sustainable development and seeing what the world is doing to ensure women have equal access to land rights, energy, credit, global markets, and food security.

Additionally we will listen keenly to information and innovative approaches about using social and new media to do more good in this world at Rio + Social.

All of this promises to be an amazing week, with a ton of information and sights and sounds to share from Rio.

Keep up with my posts at the following places:

Twitter: @socialgoodmoms, @mombloggersclub, @jenniferjames

Facebook: facebook.com/mombloggersforsocialgood

Pinterest: pinterest.com/socialgoodmoms

and  of course here on our blog.

UN Photo/Maria Elisa Franco